If you are suffering from the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, then you are more than likely looking for ways to reduce the size of your prostate.
The best way to promote good prostate health is by all-natural methods.
Taking simple can have a significant impact on any symptoms of BPH and other prostate problems.
This article will discuss the best ways to help prevent an enlarged prostate.
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a small gland, no bigger than a large walnut. It is a male reproductive organ, located between the bladder and the penis, close to the rectum. Only men have this gland, and it is essential for reproduction.
It makes fluid known as semen, which carries the sperm from the testicles, via the urethra, to the penis for ejaculation.
Sperm are produced in the testes, and semen is the fluid needed for sperm to travel and survive.
The urethra is a tube which runs through the center of the prostate and is essential for the proper functioning of the entire urinary tract.
If the prostate is compromised, you will have trouble urinating, and with the transporting of semen and sperm for ejaculation.
How is a prostate compromised?
There are various reasons why a prostate gland may become enlarged. Here are some of them:
- The primary cause of an enlarged prostate is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
This occurs when the cells of the prostate begin to multiply. The extra cells cause the prostate to swell and squeeze the urethra, limiting the flow of urine.
BPH is considered a normal condition of male aging and is common in many men over the age of 50.
Without treatment, the symptoms of BPH can negatively impact on your quality of life.
- Prostatitis, an infection of the prostate, is another condition which causes prostate enlargement.
This is not related to BPH, which is not an infection. Bacteria often cause prostatitis. It starts suddenly and is characterized by fever, chills, and nausea.
- Prostate cancer is the most severe condition that will cause the prostate to be enlarged. This cancer usually is slow-growing, but in some cases, it has been known to be aggressive.
In this instance, it can spread to the rest of the body before it is diagnosed.
Research by the US Prostate Cancer Foundation reported that 1 in 14 men between the ages of 60 and 69 are diagnosed with prostate cancer, with the majority being over the age of 65.
Common symptoms of an enlarged prostate
- Urinary problems, including frequent urination/ urge to urinate, especially at night (nocturia).
- Inability to urinate.
- Trouble getting the stream going, which is often and weak, resulting in incomplete emptying of the bladder.
- Dribbling at the end of the urinary stream, and water leakage from the residue in the bladder.
- Painful urination, and sometimes blood in the urine.
- A potential loss of bladder control.
These symptoms may be mild, to begin with, but can become serious if not attended to. Note that BPH is not necessarily a sign of cancer. A visit to the doctor can establish what the problem is.
Risk factors for BPH
Benign prostatic hyperplasia appears to run in families. Men who have a close relative diagnosed when still under the age of 60, have a 30% chance of developing BPH.
Other risk factors include:
- Obesity can constrict the urethra and hinder the flow of urine.
- A lack of exercise. Research conducted at Harvard University Health noted that regular exercise could reduce your risk factor of BPH by up to 50%.
- Alcoholic drinks and high salt intake stimulate urine production and contribute to risks of prostate enlargement.
- A poor diet high in acidic foods such as red meat and full dairy may also be a risk factor.
- Fortunately, most of these risk factors can be substantially reduced by lifestyle and dietary changes.
How a poor diet can affect an enlarged prostate
The prostate is controlled by strong hormones, one of which is testosterone. In the prostate gland, testosterone is converted into another hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Studies have indicated that high levels of DHT cause the prostate cells to enlarge.
Certain foods and drinks have been proven to harm prostate health.
Here are some foods to avoid, or certainly to eat less of:
- Red meat often contains hormones, particularly testosterone, which are added to the animals to increase their size. Studies have shown that daily eating of red meat triples the risk of prostate enlargement.
- Dairy, like meat, is linked to added hormones and raises the risk of BPH. Reducing the intake of dairy products like butter, cheese, and milk, can help reduce symptoms.
- Caffeine is known to act as a diuretic which increases the need to urinate. Lowering the intake of caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and sodas, will help.
- Alcohol is known to stimulate urine production and promote difficulty with urination. Men suffering from BPH reported that drastically cutting down on alcohol have eased their symptoms.
- A high sodium intake, from processed foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, pies, and other takeaway snacks.
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats is highly recommended, these include:
- Coldwater fish like salmon, trout, and sardines. They are high in omega 3 fatty acids which help to reduce inflammation in the body, as well as the prostate.
- Tomatoes, berries, and citrus fruits are rich in antioxidants and vit C, which combat free radicals rampaging round in the body, causing inflammation and infections in many organs.
- Leafy green vegetables contain a chemical called sulforaphane. This chemical is believed to target cancer cells and promote a healthy prostate. Good options to include are broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
- Nuts are rich in trace minerals such as zinc, which is found in high concentration in the prostate. Tests have shown that zinc may help balance testosterone and DHT in the prostate, and so help to prevent enlargement. Shellfish and legumes are also rich in zinc.
- More research is needed, but onions and garlic may also be helpful to the prostate.
- Changing your diet can be quite effective in managing the symptoms of BPH, but other lifestyle changes may also be helpful.
More strategies you can try…
- Reducing stress levels.
- Give up smoking to prevent narrowing of tubes and blood vessels.
- Drink as little fluids as you can in the evening to cut down on night urination.
- Limit fluid intake to no more than 2 liters per day, but beware of dehydration.
- Try and empty the bladder when urinating, using your bladder muscle to squeeze everything out.
- Do a series of pelvic floor exercises to strengthen bladder and abdomen muscles.
- There are also bladder training exercises you can do.
- Avoid medications such as diuretics and antihistamines.
Treatment options for BPH
If your symptoms are mild, do not bother you too much and you do not want the side effects of medication, you may opt to monitor things, and see your doctor once a year – or sooner should your symptoms change.
Medications to treat BPH include alpha-blockers, such as tamsulosin, which relax the neck of the bladder and the muscles of the prostate, easing and relieving the symptoms.
However, although it works to block the activity of α-adrenergic receptors, which primarily mediate smooth muscle contraction, it has severe side effects, including erection problems and erectile dysfunction.
Natural treatments have been shown to treat BPH symptoms, including effectively
- Beta-sitosterol- is a sterol, similar to cholesterol, found in plant foods. It hosts a wide range of health benefits, especially when it comes to healing an enlarged prostate. It has been shown to help reduce prostate symptoms, including improving urination flow and prostatitis.
- Zinc- Zinc supplements are proven to protect the prostate gland and suppress inflammation and enlargement.
- Boron- Strong evidence has shown that boron may play an important role in protecting men from prostate cancer. This powerful, yet often overlooked mineral has been proven to reduce prostate cancer risk as well as lowering PSA levels.
- Pgygeum– Phytosterols found in plants produce an anti-inflammatory effect, helping to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of BPH.
Each person responds differently to treatment, and what may be good for you, might not work for the guy next door.
Extensive research has indicated that transurethral resection of the prostate (prostate TURP) is considered the most effective treatment for a chronically enlarged prostate which has not had positive results from other treatments.
A fine surgical instrument is inserted through the tip of the penis and into the urethra, and excess prostate tissue that is blocking the flow of urine is trimmed off.
The instrument used for the procedure is known as a resectoscope which enables the doctor to see what is happening as the surgery progresses.
Treatments for prostate cancer
Of all the conditions which cause an enlarged prostate, cancer must be the very worst result. It requires different treatment protocols from that of BPH.
Depending on the stage of cancer when diagnosed, treatments will vary. They may include radical surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormonal treatment.
These treatments all have possible side effects, with the most distressing possibly being that of hormonal treatment.
Prostate cancer is known to thrive on testosterone, and specific hormone-releasing drugs are usually prescribed to lower androgen (testosterone) levels. Estrogen is sometimes used when other hormonal treatment does not work.
Unfortunately, estrogen causes side effects such as hot flashes, breast tissue growth, issues of low libido, and a lack of sexual desire.
Studies have shown that early detection of prostate cancer, and the correct treatment, monitored by your doctor, can result in a very high cure rate.
Early detection is the key to success, but unfortunately, many men are reluctant to talk about urinary difficulties. They find it embarrassing and somewhat “unmanly” to discuss what they consider to be a weakness.
Very often, men don’t seek medical advice until things are almost out of control, and they are experiencing distressing episodes of leaking from a bladder which does not empty properly.
The first symptom of prostate enlargement is a change in your urinary habits, which may at first be mild.
However, any change in the urinary system should not be taken lightly, as complications at a later stage may seem to be insurmountable.
The prostate gland may be tiny and seemingly insignificant, but it controls a large part of your system, namely the urinary tract.
If this is not working as well as it should be, you could be suffering from prostate enlargement.
Don’t delay – have it investigated by your urologist. Your life may depend on it!